How we can help
Over 160,000 people across England are now employing Personal Assistants (PAs) to provide care and support for themselves or a loved one. With the benefits and flexibility of employing one's own staff comes the responsibility of being an employer. We know that this is often a new role for people and it can be a daunting prospect but Skills for Care are here to help make the process easier to understand.
We have developed a range of products to help inform and guide you through the responsibilities that you have as an employer. The products on the following pages have been split into sections to make it easier to identify the areas that you may feel you need to know more about.
What is a personal assistant in social care?
Getting started and recruiting and keeping your staff
These products are a great starting point to give a general overview of everything you may need to know as an employer.
- Toolkit to help people employ their own personal assistants - a useful guide which covers the following topics: employing a PA, being a good employer, getting started, keeping your PA, sorting out problems, additional resources
The 2012 'refresh' of the Manager Induction Standards will also be helpful to you in your role as the manager of personal assistants whom you employ. Those standards are for managers new in post in all sorts of adult social care, so you should feel free to adapt them to suit you and your PAs.
- Skills for Care has developed a number of case studies featuring personal assistants:
Alexandra Finnegan case study
Donna Candland case study
Helen MacGregor case study
Melanie Bukowski case study
Inducting and building relationships with your staff
Induction is the first piece of learning a worker undertakes and is an excellent way of introducing a new personal assistant to your way of working. It also gives you the chance to set boundaries early on and helps to build the foundations to a successful working relationship with your PA. This topic is explored further in the Personalisation and Partnership guide.
- Inducting your Personal Assistants - information that can help you to structure an induction
- Personalisation and Partnership - research which looks at the various factors which can contribute to a successful and effective working relationship between you and your PA. We have also produced an Personalisation and partnership - Easy read version (pdf, 2mb)
Based on this research Skills for Care has produced a practical guide to successful working relationships between individual employers and their personal assistants, carers and support workers.
The Partnerships for personalisation guide will help you as an employer to think about:
- your definition of what a successful working partnership could or should be ways of working out what sort of person are you looking for
- how you want the personal assistant to be able to provide a good quality service.
Training your staff
Once you have employed your PA you need to think about the training that they will need to work with you. Training ensures that your PA keeps up to date with practice, works safely with you and gives them additional skills and confidence.
- A short video and information is available on the Skills for Care website about helping you as an employer to identify training needs and opportunities for your PA. The relevant page on the website is in the Workforce Strategy section and is called 'Picking your Pathway (NTOW84)'
- The Qualifications and Training section of the Skills for Care website is a good resource www.skillsforcare.org.uk/qcf as it gives detailed information about what is available.
- A case study is available on the qualification options called 'For those working as a personal assistant - level 3 diploma in health and social care (adults) for England (QCF)'. This case study demonstrates how qualifications can be tailored to a specific job role and helps to put it into context.
- A case study is available on using Apprenticeships to train personal assistants Cheshire Centre for Independent Living case study - training personal assistants
- As an individual employer you can apply for funding to help you train and develop your personal assistant(s). Visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/individualemployerskillsfunding or www.skillsforcare.org.uk/wdf to find out more.
Influencing decision makers
As a social care employer and user of social care services, it is important that you have the opportunity to influence government decisions on policy and funding. The National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) gathers information about the adult social care workforce and is used by people who employ their own care and support staff and social care employers to register and update information about their workforce.
The benefits to you of registering with and updating NMDS-SC are:
- you will have the opportunity to access money for training
- you can keep staff records in a free, secure, online resource including their skills and qualifications
- the ability to anonymously compare your pay rates with other people
- seeing how other people recruit their staff.
For more information on the NMDS-SC and how it can benefit you as an individual employer please click on the following link:
You can register on NMDS-SC by visiting www.nmds-sc-online.org.uk and following the step by step instructions or by calling 0845 873 0129.
All of the products mentioned can be downloaded for free by clicking on the links above or copies can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0113 241 1275.
ACAS employing personal care workers- www.acas.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3303